Sometimes, when I’m watching a really good game, I think about how privileged I am to be doing so.
I know that sounds silly, but I dunno how else to explain it.
I felt it most often in the 90’s, and it may very well be because I was young then, but when Jordan’s Bulls were playing Portland, Phoenix, Seattle or whoever else had a series against them, it gave me goosebumps. It was this feeling how, after watching patiently for months, after countless critiques, innumerable opinions thrown left and right.. After hoping this player or team would do well and then see them blow up, after hearing or reading this player say something about this coach, or vice versa, here we are with only two teams left, and it’s the most exciting thing in the world.
And when I realized that, and started to savor that feeling, then I realized what competitive sports was all about. After that, I had become to be discriminating. I had learned that not all basketball games were the same and that not all teams and players were the same. There are a lot of them, and many are blessed with talent, true, but only a select few had the ability to make my hair stand on end. Only a few make me realize that, heck, I am watching a special game and it happens very very rarely. That within thousands of games in hundreds of leagues around the world, I am watching the very best. That after all the talk, all the opinionating, the commentating, the thinking and countless re-thinking, the shoes bought, the games played and the commercials watched.. after all the beers downed and internet forums visited, discussed, argued and analyzed, here we are watching some very special people play a very special game.
This is not to say, of course, that the upcoming Finals are guaranteed to be that way. I have issues for example, about the Laker defense, and how it seems porous at times. I have issues as well with Kevin Garnett’s performance, and how he seems, weak as of late.
I have very little trust in the Laker’s frontcourt. Brown seems like a player still 2 or 3 levels away from becoming a threat, and often, like many young players, relies on his athletic ability more than his head. Fish is fine and can probably still drive his game up a notch, but Vujajic is.. well, still a purposeless machine. A machine good at doing what, no one really knows.
On the other hand I wonder what’s up with Garnett, and how this will affect the Celtic’s big man rotation of Perkins, Big Baby and he. If it weren’t for the fact that they won 3 straight against Orlando, he’d be in Boston’s doghouse by now. His 14.9 playoff average isn’t the superstar – level we’ve been accustomed to, with his rebounding (8.2 rpg) apparently his only saving grace.
But then, like I said, this is all talk. We can analyize and pick apart teams and players and compare playoff vs. regular season performances individually and as a team all day long, but the end result is still the same.
At the start of this post I said how I get goosebumps during special games. How it just makes me feel privileged, like this special show is only available to us, how I feel sorry for other people in later years because they weren’t around to see, hear and feel all this energy.
I look upon the greats of Celtics – Lakers series past, and I think to myself, yes, this generation is privileged again. Privileged to have our own Celtics – Lakers, observe for ourselves this rivalry, and make it our own. It amazes me no end that Orlando or Phoenix could’ve gone to the Finals and it’d well have been still good basketball. But the fact it’s a Laker – Celtic series just boggles the mind.